Tarsal lameness of dairy bulls housed at two artificial insemination centers: 24 cases (1975-1987)

Uri Bargai From The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, PO Box 12, Rehovot, Israel 76100 (Bargai), and Hahaklait Clinical Services, PO Box 9610, Haifa, Israel (Cohen).

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Robert Cohen From The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, PO Box 12, Rehovot, Israel 76100 (Bargai), and Hahaklait Clinical Services, PO Box 9610, Haifa, Israel (Cohen).

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Summary

Degenerative joint disease of the tarsi was diagnosed in 20 of 24 Holstein bulls with tarsal lameness at 2 artificial insemination centers from 1975 to 1987. Each of the 2 centers housed about 100 bulls/yr. Of the 24 bulls with tarsal lameness, 22 were from the artificial insemination center designated as A, and 2 were from the center designated as B. Examination of the housing and management procedures revealed that center A had concrete floors with cuboi-dal-shaped yards, whereas center B had deep sand flooring, with long, narrow yards. The only other difference between the 2 centers was that center A used 1- and 2-year-old bulls as teasers for older, heavier bulls to mount, whereas center B used, bulls that were at least 6 years old to withstand the stress placed on their hind limbs by the weight of bulls undergoing semen collection. Radiographic lesions of tarsi of bulls from both centers ranged from distention of the tibiotarsal joint pouch to hypertrophic degenerative osteoarthritis of the distal, intertarsal, and tarsometatarsal joints. It was concluded that the concrete flooring and the semen collecting practices were responsible for the high prevalence of tarsal lameness and degenerative joint disease of the tarsi in bulls housed at center A.

Summary

Degenerative joint disease of the tarsi was diagnosed in 20 of 24 Holstein bulls with tarsal lameness at 2 artificial insemination centers from 1975 to 1987. Each of the 2 centers housed about 100 bulls/yr. Of the 24 bulls with tarsal lameness, 22 were from the artificial insemination center designated as A, and 2 were from the center designated as B. Examination of the housing and management procedures revealed that center A had concrete floors with cuboi-dal-shaped yards, whereas center B had deep sand flooring, with long, narrow yards. The only other difference between the 2 centers was that center A used 1- and 2-year-old bulls as teasers for older, heavier bulls to mount, whereas center B used, bulls that were at least 6 years old to withstand the stress placed on their hind limbs by the weight of bulls undergoing semen collection. Radiographic lesions of tarsi of bulls from both centers ranged from distention of the tibiotarsal joint pouch to hypertrophic degenerative osteoarthritis of the distal, intertarsal, and tarsometatarsal joints. It was concluded that the concrete flooring and the semen collecting practices were responsible for the high prevalence of tarsal lameness and degenerative joint disease of the tarsi in bulls housed at center A.

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